HOUSTON (CN) – An unsavory Texan charges senior citizens up to $10,000 for his phony dating service and uses “physically intimidating tactics” and “high pressure sales tactics until they agree to sign a ‘membership agreement,'” the attorney general claims in court.
Texas sued Javier Luna aka Harvey Luna, of Beaumont, and his companies Sagejax Inc. dba Matchmaker Matchmaker and Monterey Financial Services Inc., in Harris County Court.
“Matchmaker and its principal, Harvey Luna … purport to provide a dating service, Matchmaker Matchmaker, which specifically targets senior citizens, the disabled, and veterans throughout the State of Texas,” the complaint states.
“Defendant Luna, the principal owner of Matchmaker, has operated dating services in both the Harris and Jefferson County areas under various names, including Matchmaker, Two of Us, 2 of a Kind, and Together Dating. Matchmaker defendants use coercive and at times physically intimidating tactics to convince prospective senior citizen clients and others to sign expensive ‘membership agreements’ for their services, costing $3,000.00 to $10,000.00 for prospective dating introductions.
“Matchmaker defendants utilize a company which ‘mines’ online dating service databases and sells ‘leads’ and customer contact information. Although not a registered telemarketer in the State of Texas, Matchmaker defendants use this information to cold call prospective clients throughout Texas. The sole purpose of these cold calls is to entice people to come into Matchmaker defendants’ offices and sign up for dating services.” (Citations to exhibits omitted.)
Matchmaker’s sales staff are “trained in dubious and aggressive recruitment practices,” including false claims that Matchmaker has a database of thousands of potential dates, is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau and does psychological evaluations of all its potential members, Attorney General Greg Abbott says in the complaint.
“Customers, mostly senior citizens, complain that they are kept in a room at Matchmaker defendants’ business for hours to listen to high pressure sales tactics until they agreed to sign a ‘membership agreement.’ Consumers report that defendant Luna has physically placed himself between the consumer and an exit and even placed his hands on a 65-year-old female customer and told her that he would not let her leave until she signed up for the program. Defendant Luna also pressured prospective clients by telling them that his pastor, Joel Osteen, said we were meant to go ‘two by two’ and it was God’s will for them to sign up for the program.
“Consumers complain that when they told Matchmaker defendants they could not afford the dating services, Matchmaker defendants manipulated them and kept changing the prices, depending upon their ability to pay. Matchmaker defendants falsely represented they needed sensitive financial information from consumers, including their financial status and credit card allowances, to better ‘match’ them to prospective dates, when in reality the information was used to adjust the final price to the consumer’s ability to pay. The final price was only revealed after hours of high pressure sales tactics when most consumers just wanted to leave. Consumers who refused to sign a contract were verbally abused.” (Citations to exhibits omitted.)
Luna has defrauded people of thousands of dollars throughout Southeast Texas, Abbott says in the complaint.
Texas seeks restitution, disgorgement, penalties and damages for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Act, the Texas Debt Collection Act and the Texas Business and Commerce Code.
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